An openly gay United States professional swimmer Richard Alther wrote an open letter published by the Huffington Post, which criticized the boycott of Russia and stated that President Putin is, “downright hot.”
“As much as a world leader, you are an international celebrity as a proud, buff dude,” Alther wrote on October 12. “Millions who admire sportsmen have seen photos of you shirtless. There have been shots of you sitting tall in the saddle, commanding your steed, taking your well-deserved break from staggering responsibility… Loosen up. Lay off the literal bully pulpit. We all know you’re a macho man, which can be cool. Show that it takes a real man to treat others — meaning everyone — with grace, compassion, and respect.”
Alther later compared his beauty to Daniel Craig’s portrayal as James Bond and superior in looks compared to New Jersey governor Chris Christie and German politician Angela Merkel.
“How wonderful that the Russian city of Sochi is hosting the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, a monumental declaration of the importance of physical fitness, all the more enhancing of your own self-esteem,” Alther added. “You obviously concur that the human race is not propelled forward by couch potatoes. It is a sterling moment for Russia and your role at the helm, political differences aside. Athletic achievement is something that we can all celebrate.”
Alther writes, “Russia must not be vilified” as “we’re in a seismic revolution after centuries of repression,” adding that, “so much of the globe is mired in the Middle Ages.” Alther noted other countries including the United States which take part in homophobic tendencies and discrimination; calling the distain for Russian politics as scapegoating.
Russia implemented several anti-LGBT laws on June 30 including the restriction of foreign LGBT couples from adopting Russian children, banning Pride parades, and outlawing “homosexual propaganda.” In September, Putin denied that Russia’s LGBT community faced discrimination as the laws only ban the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors,” and said that there was “no infringement on the rights of sexual minorities.”
“Now, we’re not asking to wear pink Speedos in the pool or basket-prominent leotards on the track and field. We simply want to strut our stuff (sound familiar?), which is sheer, bloody perseverance and skill at our sport,” Alther said. “We want our family and friends to wave us on. OK, one or two could possibly, unintentionally, be wearing a Queer Nation T-shirt, now a violation under your law.”